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Every summer, Iranian police get tough on women who violate the country’s strict Islamic dress code by adjusting their veils and long coats to try to cope with the rising temperatures.

But this year, amid the annual crackdown, the issue of how women wear the veil — and what the government does about it — has become part of an intensifying rift between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and powerful Shiite clerics.

The conservative clerics, and like-minded military commanders, complain that Ahmadinejad must do more to ensure that the dress code is strictly enforced, even, as some have said, “if blood needs to be shed.” Some of them have also blamed recent violence against women on the victims themselves, arguing that they are at fault because of their failure to wear the veil properly.”

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